THE YOUNG Socceroos opened their account at the AFC U19 Championship qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur yesterday with a hard fought 1-0 win over a plucky Singapore team.
Playing his first game for Australia, Reece Caira headed home a cross from Adam Taggart in the 50th minute which proved to be the only goal of the game.
The Qantas Young Socceroos dominated the game and made numerous chances which were either wasted or well defended by the Singapore goalkeeper, Bin Ghani, who was easily their player of the game.
The game began in very hot and humid conditions after the kickoff time was brought forward by the AFC to avoid thunderstorms and torrential rain which has been a feature of the Kuala Lumpur weather conditions for the last week.
In the goal-less first half the Young Socceroos, with 90 percent possession, consistently pressured the Singapore goal; Caira, Jamie Maclaren and striker Adam Taggart all had chances to put Australia ahead but Ghani, the woodwork and profligate finishing meant that Australia went to the half-time break without a goal to show for their dominance.
It was not until the 50th minute that the Young Socceroos took the lead when Taggart sent over a sweet cross from the right wing and Caira was at the back post to firmly plant the ball in the back of the net.
Despite continued pressure on Singapore, a second goal proved elusive; Terry Antonis, Ryan Edwards and Taggart all had good opportunities well saved or just missing the target.
On one occasion Antonis delicately chipped the goal keeper but the ball clipped the cross bar. In the 78th minute Australia had a penalty claim waved away by the Thai referee when Taggart was brought down in the box.
The Young Socceroos nearly scored a second when Taggart took a clever free kick to Edwards whose shot was cleared off the line.
In the 80th minute, departing coach Jan Versleijen replaced the hard-working midfielder, Jake Barker-Daish, with Paulo Retre, and Australia played out the remaining minutes still exerting pressure on the tiring Singaporeans.
An indication of their superiority was that Australia had 16 corners to none for Singapore, and the Qantas Young Socceroos goalkeeper, Nick Munro, had only one shot to save.
Jan Versleijen was content with his team's performance, stating at the post-match press conference that this new team had only been together for a short time and played their opening game in stifling hot and humid conditions
In the other Group G match played today, Indonesia defeated Macau 3- 0.In the first round on Monday, China PR and Indonesia played out a scoreless draw, as did Macau and Singapore.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will next face Macau on Friday 4 November (kick-off 11:00am local, 2.00pm AEST).
During the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers, each group will play one round league and the top two teams from each group will progress to the AFC U19 Championship 2012.
The AFC U-19 Championship 2012 will serve as the qualifying event for the 2013 U20 World Cup which will be held in the Turkey.
Qantas Young Socceroos 1 (Reece Caira 50')
MBPJ Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Wednesday 2 November 2011
Referee: Aonruk APISIT (THAILAND)
Assistant Referees: Kangram PREECHA (THHAILAND) & Ho Wai SING (HONG KONG)
Fourth Official: Yu Ming HSUN (CHINESE TAIPEI)
Qantas Young Socceroos line up: 12.Nicholas MUNRO (gk), 2.Josh BRILLANTE, 3. Connor CHAPMAN, 4.Curtis GOOD (c), 6.Terry ANTONIS, 7.Jamie MACLAREN 8.Jake BARKER-DAISH (38.Paulo RETRE 80'), 9.Adam TAGGART, 19.Reece CAIRA, 22.Ryan EDWARDS 45.Daniel PETKOVSKI
Substitutes not used: 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 28.Aaron LENNOX (gk), 13.Anthony PROIA, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Jason GERIA, 21. Tom KING, 26.Nicholas ANSELL, 30.James DONACHIE, 43. Allan WELSH, 44. Liam WOODING
Yellow Cards: Jamie MACLAREN 37'
Red Cards: Nil
Singapore line up: 18.Bin GHANI (gk), 3. TAJ, 6.Mohan KUMAR, 9.Hussein NURULLAH, 10.Bin RAZALI, 13.Asyidio SUKARTO 14. Hamid HUSSAIN, 15.Amis AABUDIN, 17.Bin Mo HAFEEZ (c), 23.Pravin GUANASAGARAN 26.Jalil HENZRY (16.SHANNON 33')
Substitutes not used: 1.Adi NEGARA (gk), 2.Basil GERARD, 4.Mohamed ISHAK, 5.Muhamed SIRAJ 24.ALIF, 25.Syed HAMID, 27.Bin ROSLI, 28.Asshiddiq WAHID, 29. Wai LOON, 30. Bin ANUAR
Yellow Cards: Amis AABUDIN 65’
Red Cards: Nil